Sports car enthusiasts have been drooling over the Ford Mustang for years. Some gravitated to the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, while there were a few die-hard fans still rooting for the Chevrolet Camaro. With the ZL1 trim, the Chevy Camaro now finds itself as a prime contender to the likes of the Mustang and Challenger. Car and Driver liked it so much that gave it an award for the Best Muscle Car of 2020. Was it justified? Let’s find out.
What are the strong points of the 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1?
Under the hood of the sporty Chevrolet Camaro is a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that puts out 650 hp. Mated to that powerful motor is a standard six-speed manual transmission, but if you choose, you can have a 10-speed automatic installed. Either way, you will get a car that packs a punch in speed and handling.
You’ll find that the ZL1 trim comes in a hard-top coupe version or soft-top convertible. It also sports one of the highest quality infotainment display systems, packed with tons of options to make driving around even more fun.
If you’re looking for a bit more to your Camaro, Chevy offers a 1LE package geared toward prime performance. It will cost you more, but it definitely ups the ante with this muscle car.
To top it all off, this Chevy Camaro has more than average braking distance. When tested, it brought the ZL1 to a complete stop from 70 mph to 0 mph in 143 feet. It’s four more feet than the Corvette, but it still outperforms some of its rivals.
Are there any weak points consumers should know?
The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is a very impressive car, but it has a few places where it fails to impress. First off, the cabin area is a little cramped in the front seat. The back seat is even worse, so much so that the only use you can get out of it is strictly for the looks.
Interior quality is okay, but for the price, you would expect a little more than what they give you. Plus, visibility is pretty limited, especially in the vehicle’s rear. Most of the reason for this lies with the design of the car, but some people might like it that way.
There are few standard safety features you’ll find onboard the ZL1 Chevy Camaro, like a blind-spot warning and forward-collision warning. But it lacks some of the more sought-after features, like automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning. Even the fuel economy ratings fail to impress. With testing, reviewers could only squeeze out 17 mpg on the highway despite the advertised 20 mpg.
Why was it chosen as the Best Muscle Car over the Ford Mustang and other rivals?
Previously, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 got more attention from fans. But the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 trim swooped in and took the Best Muscle Car award from Car and Driver. Why is that?
Well, even though the Ford Mustang has a little more agility with up to 110 hp more than the Chevy Camaro, the ZL1 is still quick and nimble on the track. Plus, it has more grip on the road where the Mustang loses points.
Another important point is that the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 only comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That’s right, you will not find a manual transmission option with the Ford Mustang.
But, the most important reason why the Camaro impressed them more has to do with the price tag. The Mustang starts at $74,000 because of all the bells and whistles that are thrown in. But the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 trim starts at $64,695 for the coupe version and $70,695 for the convertible model.
So, you can get a performance car with slightly less hp, more traction, and a manual transmission for almost $71,000 if you choose the convertible model. That’s about $3,000 less than the Mustang. If you opt for the coupe, you can save almost $10,000.
While the Ford Mustang is one sweet, muscle car, it’s nice to see the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 find its way into the limelight for once. With power like that, at an affordable price, how could you go wrong?